Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation

Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation

LaunchesPublic RoutesKnown HazardsParking


Many waterways in England and Wales require a licence to paddle. Check the licence section below to see if this is one. Save money on your licence and secure paddling insurance by joining British Canoeing. Use our easy step RapidJoin process. Open the slider to join.

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Canal Licensing Information

Licence Required?

Yes - but not included in British Canoeing Membership

License Authority

Essex Waterways

Further Information

The waterways are managed by Essex Waterways Ltd and require paddlers to hold a licence. Tel: 01494 783453 | Email: | Web:
Licences cost £5.00 for a single day, and there are generous discounts for weekly, monthly and annual periods.
A one day canoe licence is available to buy online. An annual canoe licence can also be bought online. Licences will be valid for one year from the day the licence is purchased.

The Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation opened in 1797 and is around 13 miles long. It was used to transport coal, bricks and timber inland and mainly grain and flour out.

Once commercial craft ceased to use the navigation, pleasure boats were allowed to travel along it. The management of the waterway then passed into the hands of Essex Waterways Ltd in 2005.

The upper waters of the Chelmer, Can and Wid join the top end of the Navigation and can be paddled when water levels permit.

A licence is required to paddle the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation. This is not included with Paddle UK membership. Please see licence information above.